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How can bike safety measures reduce fatal accidents?

As the weather warms up, residents in Iowa can expect to see an increase in bicyclists throughout the state. Whether it is for exercise, recreational, to save energy, to run errands or commute to school or work, residents and visitors often opt to ride their bike on a nice day. While it is an enjoyable activity, biking also poses risks to riders. Bicyclists will often ride their bikes in areas where there is also automobile traffic. If a driver or cyclist fails to follow the rules of the road, they could cause a serious or even fatal crash.

How can bike safety measures reduce fatal bicycle accidents? According to a 2014 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report based on 2012 data, roughly 726 bicyclists were killed in 2012. Moreover, approximately 49,000 cyclists were injured in motor vehicle traffic collisions. This data respectively amounted to around 2 percent of fatal automobile accidents and 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashes that year.

Because the data suggested that there was a 6 percent increase in the number of bicyclists killed from the previous year, increasing bicycle safety and education could help reduce collisions between bikers and automobiles. The report noted that the roughly 69 percent occurred in urban areas, 58 percent happened at non-intersections and about 48 percent of fatal bicycle accidents occurred between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight.

In order to reduce these types of collisions drivers should take measures to ensure they are aware of cyclists around them. During evening and nighttime hours, drivers should be on the lookout for bikers on or near the roadways. Using mirrors, checking blind spots, signaling turns, reducing speeds and taking precautions during turns could help reduce bicycle collisions.

While safety measures could help increase the safety of bicyclists, unfortunately, this does not prevent all bike accidents from occurring. A negligent driver could easily be the cause of a crash. If it is determined that a driver is at fault in a fatal bicycle crash, loved ones might have a cause of action. A wrongful death claim could help them recover losses and damages incurred from the fatal bike accident that took the life of their loved one. Family members should learn more about their rights and legal remedies available to them following a bike accident.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Bicyclists and Other Cyclists," April 2014

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